Nanowrimo Update III

Sorry if these updates bore you, but I am a writer, and ’tis the season for National Novel Writing Month. Don’t worry, though. It will be over soon. (Don’t I know it…)

I am up to 33,731 words as of last night. I might have gotten more, but I was keeping one eye on Ravens vs. Steelers. (Quite pleased with that outcome I may add.) Don’t worry, though; that was the only time I split my attention between Nano writing and something else at the same time. And I still made my daily quota. Computer still projects me to finish by the 26th of this month.

Yet the news is not all good. For I have run into a section of my novel that is really dragging for me. And if it’s dragging for me, it would drag for readers, I dare say. I’m not one to follow publishing conventions, but I imagine that if the author is a little bored with something, most readers would be as well.

Part of the problem is that as I follow the outline, I’m recognizing ahead of time sections, chapters and scenes that are extraneous, or repetitive. So I don’t write them. I write something more efficient. I consolidate them into single chapters. I mentioned this last week, but this week it’s become more problematic because I’m nearing the end of the outline I prepared before hand. It appears increasingly likely that I will have to “pants” a bit this month to get to 50,000 words. I just don’t think what is left of the story I outlined is enough.

The outline was only ever supposed to be about half the story anyway. But I have shrunk it down as I write. My fear now is not only not having enough material to comfortably do Nano, but that I will have a huge task ahead of me to finish the novel once Nano is over. And even bigger task once revisions come along sometimes in the spring.

My instincts are always to establish, establish, establish. To set a mood and to take a gradual approach to revealing the nature of a character, an internal change, a major decision. But I am already finding with this novel, as with my last novel, that it would simply take too many words to arrive at my destination via my determined route. Yet the opposite fear takes hold when I trim things. I become concerned that I won’t establish anything for long enough to be enjoyable.

These are the fears I had going into Nano with am “official” novel, as opposed to some one-off Nano thing that I’d never look at again. Or at least not for a long time. (I still haven’t looked at my first two Nano novels from years ago.)

I have to keep telling myself, that whether Nano or not, this is still a first draft, and of course bound to not be very good. Yet to me there is a difference between being sloppy, and being full of holes. Sloppy can be fixed with subsequent revisions. Holes require at times entire rewrites to fill in. Slop and fat on the edges I don’t  mind in a first draft. But holes…those trouble me. Makes it seems like the novel will have to be 4 times longer than I intended in order to fix them. Or otherwise become a totally different novel, and I don’t want that at all.

In the end, I will almost certainly get to 50K by the end of the month. But I may have to cut a few corners plot wise, here and there, so I can get to section that I know will be word-heavy. Which means that the sections which are left thin will have holes. Holes I cannot, as per my own strict rule, correct until I am 100% done with the first draft. Yet continuing on with the narrative may be damn hard when I know I left a few holes waiting for me on the trip back.

So, I am moving along, word wise, but paying a price that is a little too high for me. I have written a brief, newer outline to follow for at least the remainder of Nano. Hopefully that will minimize the holes I leave while trying to write fast. Then, once November ends, I can move at a more deliberate pace, and keep holes filled as I go.

That’s where I am now. Sailing not as smooth as I did a week ago. Nonetheless, the voyage continues. Stay tuned.

Any advice?

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